How to Become President: Chapter 2

July 1, 2009


PRESIDENTS are made, not born. That’s a good thing to remember. It’s silly to think that Presidents are born, because very few people are 35 years old at birth, and those who are won’t admit it. So if you’re only 16 don’t be discouraged, because it’s only a phase and there’s nothing wrong with you that you won’t outgrow.

Of course, times are different now, especially with Daylight Saving. Lincoln had certain advantages we don’t have today. For instance, he could go out and split a bunch of rails, but the railroads are using iron ones more and more. Now the only things left to split are bananas and infinitives. If you split too many bananas you get in a rut and end up behind a soda fountain, and if you split infinitives the voters will think you can’t afford a ghost writer. Then too, Lincoln could work out his problems by writing on a shovel, but if you try that now the WPA foreman will fire you for playing during shirking hours.

Of course, it goes without saying that every candidate must be progressive, fearless, vigorous, and liberal; invincible in victory and invisible in defeat, awake to the needs of the people whether they know what they know what they need or not. You should also come from a good family, because while breeding isn’t everything, it is said to be lots of fun. George Burns–that’s Mister Allen–was saying the other day that to be President of the United States you also have to have brains, integrity, ability and intelligence, but I think he was just trying to talk me into it. He only wants me to be President so he can write a column and call it “My Daze.”

There’s another thing you should think about, and that is, who are you going to be another of; and if you think that’s confused, you must come up sometime and listen to me helping Sandra with her algebra. What I mean is, it wouldn’t be so good to call yourself “another Cleveland,” because then the folks who live in Pittsburgh wouldn’t vote for you. But you could be another Jackson or something, because what has been done can be done again, and Jackson is in the public domain. Personally, I’m going to be another Peggy Hopkins Joyce, so in case I lose the election I’ll have something besides a bustle to fall back on.

book2It helps to have a record as a public servant. Now, I’ve never been a public servant myself, but I was a public stnographer; and furthermore I’m used to serving on government missions, because every Friday my daddy sends me downtown to cash his relief check. All the other candidates are making speeches about how much they have done for this country, which is ridiculous. I haven’t done anything yet, and I think it’s just common sense to send me to Washington and make me do my share.

Here are some little things every Candid Candidate should remember: Be original, distinctive–build a better mousetrap than your neighbor and Kraft Cheese will beat a path to your door. Be a good mixer, for putting shaved ice in the Martinis has proved the death of many a Party. Don’t sit around the house with your teeth in your mouth–go down to the corner and meet the boys. Meet the girls. Meet the girls’ husbands, but don’t give your right name. And keep up your morning exercises, because every politician must be able to keep both feet on the fence with his ear to the ground.


But over and above everything else, never forget that the candidate of today must have Galmor. The Plain Man went out when newsreels came in. What chance has a mon like Robert Taft? In the first place, he isn’t pretty, and in the second, he thinks everybody ought to go back to work. That’s silly. What would we do with all those big relief appropriations if everybody went back to work?

Brains, integrity, and force may be all very well, but what you need today is Charm. Go ahead and work on your old economic programs if you want to, I’ll develop my radio personality. Voters of yesterday used to ask, “What are your politics?” Now all they want to know is, “How is your Crossley rating?”

So let’s all put our shoulders to the wheel and push the Ship of State farther into the mud. One for all, if you’ll let me know a little ahead of time, and all for me. Forward for Humanity and Gracie, the President You Love to Touch.


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